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There is an abundance of research attempting to pinpoint a formula for effective school

leadership, resulting in myriad school leadership theories and models. Each new study expands

the knowledge base of what it means to be an effective school leader and clarifies the impact of

the principal on student achievement. Emotional intelligence has emerged as a model of

effective leadership across the business specter, and its connection to school leadership is

currently being explored. The emotional intelligence of school leaders plays a role in school

improvement, helping to fill the gaps in current research as to which leadership competencies

contribute to school success.

This literature review will discuss the evolution of emotional intelligence research,

including the three most prevalent models by Salovey and Mayer, Bar-On, and Goleman. Next,

the research on the traits and behaviors of effective school principals, including a specific focus

on those in the middle grades settings, will be examined. Finally, the connections between

emotional intelligence and the traits and behaviors of effective school principals, as well as the

relationship to national school leadership standards, will be presented.

Emotional Intelligence Defined

As of yet, no one leadership theory, no set of characteristics, no list of behaviors have answered

the question of why effective principals are effective. That is because successful leaders have a

human focus which can‘t be defined through a set of practices; they must have the ability to

work with a variety of different people, motivating them and helping them achieve the goals of

the organization (Hauser, 2001). Daniel Goleman, author of several books and articles on

emotional intelligence, calls these leaders emotionally intelligent. Emotional intelligence (EI) is

―the capacity for recognizing our own feelings and those of others, for motivating ourselves

and for managing emotions effectively in ourselves and others‖ (Hay Group, 2005, p. 2). Justice

& Espinoza (2007) state that, ―. . . emotional intelligence is the single most important

influencing variable in personal achievement, career success, leadership and life satisfaction.‖

While this claim might sound a bit overstated, there are a number of research studies that point

to a definitive relationship between a person‘s EI and their personal and professional success. EI

is not an inherent trait, nor is it a behavior. Based on the same concept as the IQ model, it is an

intelligence model that encompasses a person‘s capacity to perceive, understand and manage

emotions (Mayer & Salovey, 1997). Emotional intelligence is much more than just

demonstrating an upbeat personality; it is the ability to understand how one‘s emotions can

impact the moods and performance of others around him in both positive and negative ways.

EI versus IQ

The basic premise upholding the study of EI is that general intelligence, i.e., IQ, is not the best

indicator of life and workplace success (Goldenberg, Matheson & Mantler, 2006). In fact,
Goleman (1995, 1998b) asserts that EI matters more than IQ in determining who will be a more

productive employee and who will be a better leader. The more demanding and intellectually

challenging the job is, the more this difference comes into play. IQ and technical skills are

assumed to be entry-level capabilities to land a professional job, but he contends it is the

emotional intelligence factor that determines who excels (Goleman, 1995).

According to some studies, IQ comes in second to EI in determining outstanding job

performance in a variety of different jobs. In these studies, IQ accounted for only 4% to 25% of

job success, while as much as 90% of that success could be linked to EI (Goleman, 1998b).

Additional studies on the impact of emotional intelligence and workplace success show that

emotional intelligence accounts for 85% of the difference between high-performing workers and

workers that are labeled as average (Cook, 2006). In part, this can be attributed to the leader‘s

actions and mood. Studies looking at working climate alone can rate an organization as high or

low performing with 75% accuracy (Bardach, 2008), thus, it is imperative that leaders be able to

affect climate. Emotionally competent leaders positively impact the working climate, which

permeates the productivity of the entire organization. General leadership studies have shown

that emotional intelligence outweighs job experience and IQ as a predictor of successful job

performance (Buntrock, 2008). Therefore, when comparing technical skills, IQ and EI for

highly effective leaders, EI was twice as important as the other factors in all jobs and

organizations studied (Goleman, 1998a).

This does not mean that IQ and EI are conflicting or opposing forces, or that IQ is not important

or necessary; in fact, they are completely separate competencies and one does not impact the

other (Goleman, 1995). A person can have high IQ and low EI, or just the opposite, or any

combination thereof. It does appear from the research that IQ should be a prerequisite for
professional employment. However, it is EI, more so than IQ, that unlocks a person‘s full

potential in workplace success, giving him the ability to focus on his work, to think clearly and

to perform at maximum levels of productivity (Goleman, 1995, 1998b).

Some critics state that EI is just a glorified new name for what has been known for years in

psychological research as personality psychology (Matthews, Roberts & Zeidner, 2004; Mayer

& Cobb, 2000). In one sense, this is true – EI has been talked about for decades with labels such

as ―character,‖ ―personality,‖ ―soft skills,‖ and ―competence‖ (Goleman, 1998b). However,

the research on EI goes beyond mere personality traits as an indicator of life success. EI

includes factors, such as personality traits, which are an indication of a person‘s potential for

learning and demonstrating practical emotional skills; but, a person who is identified as

emotionally intelligent also has the ability to convert and apply that intelligence, which is what

leads to high levels of performance (Goleman, 1998b; Wakeman, 2006).

Salovey and Mayer’s Four-Branch Ability Model of Emotional Intelligence

The term emotional intelligence was coined by Salovey and Mayer in 1990 who introduced it as

an intelligence model framed on the work of the IQ model, only dealing with emotions instead

of cognition (Salovey & Mayer, 1990). Their initial framework was further revised in 1997,

resulting in a Four-Branch Model of Emotional Intelligence. This is an ability-based model

which focuses on how emotions contribute to intelligent thought and cognition, and also how

emotional reasoning contributes to decisions and actions in everyday life (Mayer & Salovey,


The branches of their model are arranged from relatively basic psychological processes, which

include perception, appraisal and expression of emotion on the first branch, to more complex
psychologically integrated processes which require reflective regulation of emotions on the

fourth and last branch. Each branch is split into four abilities, for a total of 16 emotional

intelligence abilities. These abilities are then organized from early developing abilities to

abilities that take longer to develop. An outline of Salovey & Mayer‘s Four-Branch Model of

Emotional Intelligence follows

(Mayer & Salovey, 1997, p. 37).

1. Perception, Appraisal, and Expression of Emotion

• Ability to identify emotion in one‘s physical states, feelings and thoughts

• Ability to identify emotions in other people, designs, artwork, etc.,

through language, sound, appearance and behavior

• Ability to express emotions accurately, and to express needs related to

those feelings

• Ability to discriminate between accurate and inaccurate, or honest versus

dishonest expressions of feeling

2. Emotional Facilitation of Thinking

Emotions prioritize thinking by directing attention to important information

Emotions are sufficiently vivid and available that they can be generated as aids to judgment

memory concerning feelings

• Emotional mood swings change the individual‘s perspective from

optimistic to pessimistic, encouraging consideration of multiple points of view

• Emotional states differentially encourage specific problem approaches

such as when happiness facilitates inductive reasoning and creativity

3. Understanding and Analyzing Emotions; Employing Emotional Knowledge

• Ability to label emotions and recognize relations among the words and the

emotions themselves, such as the relation between liking and loving

• Ability to interpret the meanings that emotions convey regarding

relationships, such as that sadness often accompanies a loss

• Ability to understand complex feelings: simultaneous feelings of love and

hate, or blends such as awe and a combination of fear and surprise.

• Ability to recognize likely transitions among emotions, such as the

transition from anger to satisfaction, or from anger to shame

Reflective Regulation of Emotions to Promote Emotional and Intellectual Growth

• Ability to stay open to feelings, both those that are pleasant and those that

are unpleasant

• Ability to reflectively engage or detach from an emotion depending upon

its judged informativeness or utility

• Ability to reflectively monitor emotions in relation to oneself and others,

such as recognizing how clear, typical, influential, or reasonable they are Ability

to manage emotion in oneself and other by moderating negative emotions and

enhancing pleasant ones, without repressing or exaggerating information they

may convey

Since Salovey and Mayer introduced the concept twenty years ago, two other widely accepted

models of emotional intelligence have emerged.

The Bar-On Conceptual Model of Emotional-Social Intelligence

Bar-On extended the work of Salovey and Mayer, framing the idea of EI in terms of well-being

and behavior (Bar-On, 1997; Goleman, 1995). Bar-On‘s model offers a broader perspective on

emotional intelligence than Salovey and Mayer. His model encompasses both social and

emotional factors when developing and measuring EI. He asserts that emotional and social

competencies are interrelated and the combination of these determine how well we can manage

ourselves, interact and relate with others, and manage the daily challenges of life. The Bar-On

model is based on the idea that highlevels of social and emotional functioning will lead to high

levels of psychological wellbeing (Bar-On, 2007).

The Bar-On model (1997) identifies five overall meta-factors that conceptualize

emotional-social intelligence. Each of the meta-factors is broken down into subfactors of related

competencies, skills and facilitators. Overall, there are 15 emotional intelligence subfactors

described and measured by Bar-On‘s model. An outline of the Bar-On model follows.

1. Intrapersonal – Self-awareness and self-expression

• Self-regard

• Emotional self-awareness


• Independence

• Self-actualization

2. Interpersonal – Social awareness and interaction

• Empathy

• Social responsibility

Interpersonal relationship

1. Stress Management – Emotional management and control

• Stress tolerance

• Impulse control

2. Adaptability – Change management

• Reality

• Flexibility
• Problem solving

3. General Mood – Self-motivation

• Optimism

• Happiness

Bar-On (1997), like other EI researchers, upholds the idea that when we can make our emotions

work for us and not against us, we will be happier, better-adjusted and more effective in many

aspects of our lives.

Goleman’s Model of Emotional Competencies

Goleman extended Bar-On‘s concept of life effectiveness by focusing on the role of EI in life

success, work performance and leadership (Goleman, 1995, 1998a, 1998b, 2000; Goleman,

Boyatzis & McKee, 2001). Unlike the other models, which provide assessment of an

individual‘s EI and how that contributes to personal well-being and life satisfaction, Goleman‘s

model measures EI and how that contributes to an individual‘s impact on the workplace.

Although the other models have been used in research to measure workplace effectiveness,

Goleman‘s model is the only one with a specific focus centered on EI competencies as they

relate to the workplace.

What are the emotional competencies leading to greater success in life and the workplace?

Goleman‘s (2000) EI framework categorizes eighteen emotional intelligence competencies

grouped into four overall clusters (Hay Group, 2005) (See Table 2.1).
In summary, these three conceptual frameworks have led to three different models guiding

emotional intelligence research.

1. Mayer-Salovey Model – An ability to perceive, understand, manage and

use emotions to facilitate thinking.

2. Bar-On Model -- A cross section of interrelated emotional and social

competencies, skills and facilities that impact intelligent behavior.

Goleman Model -- An array of emotional and social competencies that contribute to managerial





The purpose of this research is to determine if incorporating emotional

intelligence education into an elementary 6th grade classroom will increase the academic scores

of standardize testing and improve their performance in regular classroom testing. The focus

will be on two 6th grade classrooms taught by the same teacher in a Midwestern Urban

elementary school. The classes that are taught have the same curriculum objectives and lesson

plans. One class will receive emotional intelligence lessons once a day for the entire school year

and the other class will receive no additional emotional intelligence education. I will gather

quantitative data in the form of end of the year testing scores and data. The data acquired will be
compared against each other. The research will investigate and correlation between the

emotional intelligence education and academic scores.

Research Design

The research will compare the findings of the two classrooms. Group I is the

independent variable. They will receive emotional intelligence education once daily for an

entire year. Group II is not an independent variable. They will be taught in the traditional way

without any emotional intelligence education. The dependent variable will be the summative

standard testing scores and the formative testing score from their regular class. If there is a

relationship between emotional education and student achievement then Group I will have a

measurable increase in their scores while Group II will not have any significant increase.